Matheus de Perusio

Perusio: Virelais, Ballades, Caccia
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Vivarte 62928

This is a valuable program. Although Perugia is not given the standing today that he was at one time (by Apel et al.), his works still contain many interesting features. The range of genres by the same composer is also stimulating, and a good way to understand a cross-section of the repertory of c.1400.

The performance is rather subdued and can tend toward the turgid side, as happens sometimes with this ensemble. Other times it has a very nice lightness, even if it remains somewhat inarticulate. The biggest issue is a general lack of forcefulness about the entire production. It comes off as subdued and tentative. The sonorities of both voices & instruments are pleasant, but most sections are more heavily orchestrated in the bass than I might prefer. Nonetheless, there are some interesting performance ideas, and the complex passagework is rendered in a straight-forward and coherent way. Ultimately, there is a level of mastery here which keeps the performance enjoyable over time.

To medieval secular list

Todd M. McComb